- Thoughts for inspired living

February 15, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 10:22 am

That is a power packed word. Success means different things to different people. Here’s what The Grasshopper had to say about success in March of 2006:

“The amount of success that you achieve is completely dependent on how well you cooperate with the resistance you receive.”

You are going to run into obstacles on your path towards whatever success means to you. No one escapes being opposed somewhere along the route.

Carl Jung said it this way,

“What you resist, persists.”

Oprah says,

“Whatever you fight, you strengthen.”

John Lennon reminded us,

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

Even the baseball pitcher with the fastest fastball knows how to throw a curve. If you want to be successful, you will have to train yourself to be able to respond to that pitch as well.

Here’s a novel thought. Treat resistance as a necessary but unexpected visitor. Beautiful pearls are a result of an oyster cooperating with an irritant. The irritant that presents itself is reality. You cannot fight with reality and be successful. Accept the obstacle as a necessary step on your way to wherever.

When you recognize reality, you have taken one more step closer to success. When you respond to reality rather than react, that acts as a catalyst that will speed up your arrival.

Tilting at windmills may make your ego feel better but it only delays your success. The next time someone asks you, “How goes the battle?” answer that you are having lunch with the enemy and you’ll let them know.

All the best,


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February 14, 2008

Real Love

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 5:22 am

I was just musing about my favorite memories of Valentine’s Day. They stem from when I was a little boy and my sons were little boys.

I remember buying a big pack of Valentine cards and writing down everyone of my classmates’ names on the tiny envelopes – boys and girls. I can see myself scrawling a little message and printing my name. I can even see the blockiness of the letters. Then I remember putting my Valentine card on each one of their desks. How innocent and exciting that was. Everyone was included; no one was left out. That was real love.

When my boys were little, I remember vicariously having the same thrill watching them joyfully filling out their card for each class member. There were no exclusions.

Somewhere along the line we began to exclude and not everyone got our expression of love. The innocence was gone, the joy dissipated. Or was it still there and ignored?

As our ego continued to develop, it wouldn’t let us love everybody. We began to compartmentalize that this person is worthy and that one isn’t, and we found a way shut down the part of us that can include everyone. It’s one of the saddest stories ever told.

Real love is always present. It’s just covered over with so much conditioning and programming that we cannot seem to get to it. But we know it’s there because we can feel it from time to time. If you meditate or do some mind calming practice like self-hypnosis, or engage in the deep contemplation of prayer, you feel real love. You don’t feel separation in that state of awareness. That is our natural state – the state of love where all is included.

The more times we visit this inclusive state of mind, the more often we imbue our everyday life with the genuine expression of love.

Take a moment today and just wonder how you can expand that feeling of love that you have reserved for a handful and mentally drop a Valentine on everyone’s desk.


Happy Valentine’s Day,


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February 13, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 7:29 am

Many people are looking to be understood. It won’t happen in this lifetime. In fact, if you are reincarnated into another life, you won’t be understood there either.

Understanding is for algebra, or languages. You can also understand how to assemble a bike, a car, or a bouquet for Valentine’s Day, but you’ll never understand people and you’ll never be understood.

When someone tells you they understand your situation, they are lying. It can be no other way. In order for them to understand you, they would have to be you, and even then there is no guarantee. It’s actually an insult to say this to another, “I understand how you feel.” I think there ought to be a law that permits you to kick someone when they say that to you, because they have just delivered a blow with their comment.

When you look for understanding or attempt to bestow it, you will move further away from the person you are seeking to get it from or give it to – not closer.

You think you are dispensing or receiving the milk of human kindness with understanding, when in fact; a wedge is being driven between you and another.

People have different reactions to the same stimulus – even identical twins. Everyone catalogues things differently. So when you tell someone that you understand, you are telling them you are processing the stimulus with the exact same information they have. That’s not humanly possible. Remember this: Human storage of information isn’t modeled after computers; it’s the other way around. You become like a computer when you look for or attempt to dispense understanding. I’m not sure I want a computer holding my hand in my time of need.

This concept may disturb your ego a bit. Don’t blame me; blame Dr. Dave Dobson. He’s the fellow I first heard it from. Dave will tell you that the closest you can get to understanding is appreciation.

You can appreciate what another is going through but you’ll never understand it. You could have the exact same situation as a stimulus and your response will be unique to you. Don’t believe me, ask a police officer at the scene of an accident. Look at the witness statements. They viewed the same crash from the same vantage point and oftentimes tell opposite stories.

It may seem like the splitting of semantic hairs to use the word “appreciate” vs. “understand.” The real test of the accuracy of this approach is to validate it in your own experience. It’s not true because I say it or Dave says it, and it’s not true if you judge this concept in your head. It’s only true if it works for you. You’ll never know unless you pull it out of the tool box and use it.

You’ll never understand your son or daughter even if they are flesh and blood. You’ll never understand your spouse, lover, friend or enemy, and, lord knows, you’ll never understand your parents.

You can have an appreciation of another’s experience, especially if you’ve had a similar set of circumstances – but not an understanding. Even if you never state it, you communicate it. There is a different energy that goes with appreciation than there is with understanding. People feel that energy. Understanding formally cloaks itself in a superior attitude. And how close do you want to get to someone who demonstrates they are superior to you?

Appreciation is more like “Casual Friday” in dress and there is more of a connection established with others. Again, the proof lies within you, not in this blog post.

People like mantras so give this one a spin: When you appreciate, you never denigrate.

All the best,


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February 12, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:13 am

How many times have you heard these words at some gathering, “Oh, you’ll have to give me the recipe”?

The unstated part of that request, if sincere, is that person would like to replicate that pleasant experience.

Reminds me of a story . . .

We have a neighbor named Barbara who makes world class brownies. She makes them over the Christmas holidays and sends them around to neighbors or brings them to neighborhood gatherings. They are super yummy. Everyone asks Barbara for her recipe and she readily complies. The interesting piece of this story is that no one who uses her recipe can deliver the same results as Barbara. Is she holding out the secret ingredient? I don’t think so, consciously.

My suspicion is that Barbara and many others who do things well do have a secret ingredient – the energy they put into their project. I believe Barbara makes her brownies with love. There is a certain energy attached to love that doesn’t make it into the transcribed recipe.

When we attempt to replicate a previous experience, we are cheating the current moment out of its chance to create something novel and new for us. We are using a recipe that worked before but we are missing the secret ingredient – the unique energy that made that moment what it was.

Reminds me of another story . . .

Many years ago I was sitting with a very wealthy man who owned a chain of restaurants and a country club. He invited me to lunch because I was in the radio business and he wanted me to help him build a sound system for his country club’s dancing area. He mentioned that he had seen the exact set up he wanted when he was on vacation in Florida. He really enjoyed the experience and wanted to recreate it back home. He went so far as to inquire about the specific equipment they used, piece by piece and he had the specs and drawings for the sound booth and all the design elements. He wanted to know if I could help him replicate it. I told him I would investigate it further and get back to him.

I did my due diligence and told him that I could have the exact same thing built but was going to refer him to someone else. He wanted to know why. I explained that even if I replicated it down to the nanometer, it wouldn’t be the same to him and he would always think it was missing something. I suggested that when he first experienced this sound booth, he was on vacation and in a different frame of mind. The replica may remind him of the experience but it will never recreate that moment.

I have no grudge against recipes. I think they provide a framework in which to operate. I just notice their limitations. The Grasshopper gave me this note in September of 2001:

“Hard and fast recipes always get you a McDonald’s hamburger – nothing more.”

Sometimes we make an effort to put a new picture in an old familiar frame. For some reason it doesn’t work. It looks okay but it lacks the originality the old picture and frame had together.

Following blueprints, patterns, syllabi, tried and true methods, recipes, etc. are very practical things to do and have their place.

If you want something more than functional, you may want to pay closer attention to the present moment and what it has to offer; then allow yourself the freedom and opportunity to create a new, original recipe.

All the best,


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February 11, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:11 am

What’s important to you? If the answer isn’t immediate, look on your refrigerator.

Most homes I visit have things affixed to their refrigerator – pictures, schedules, personalized magnets, school art, etc. These are important enough to display for anyone to see. They are visible priorities.

What’s displayed on your internal refrigerator – the one you can’t see?

Oftentimes our internal pictures, schedules, personalized magnets, etc. are scattered all over the place and don’t have order or a hierarchy to them. They all fire at once and cause us confusion and confliction. Reminds me of a story . . .

Back in 1980 I found myself out of a job in Kansas City and was looking for work. I happened to see an ad about a workshop that seemed tailor made for my needs. It was called: What Color is Your Parachute?
conducted by Richard Bolles, author of the book, What Color is Your Parachute?

The seminar was advertised as a practical approach for job hunters and career changers. Both my wife and I attended. The workshop got you to focus on your priorities before you began your search for a job or career. For example, one of those priorities was location. Both of us wanted to be within an hour’s driving distance to an ocean. There were many other questions designed to help you organize the internal scatter and prioritize it.

One of the exercises I learned, I still use today. It helps you prioritize what you think you know. Most often the results of the exercise come out differently than what you think. You may want to give it a spin. Consult the book for the official version, but here is how I remember it. Let’s start easy. List 10 things that you want to accomplish this week. Just write them down in list fashion as quickly as they come to you. They don’t have to be important or meaningful – just 10 things you want to take care of this week.

Now that they are all listed, compare number 1 on your list to number 2 and decide which one is more important to take care of. You have to pick one over the other. Once you’ve done that put a check mark next to the one you picked. Next, compare number 1 to number 3 and put a checkmark next to the one you picked. You continue comparing number 1 to all other numbers and checking the more important one. Next, you compare number 2 to number 3 and then to number 4 etc. and put a checkmark next to the one you picked. As you probably can imagine, you next compare number 3 to all the ones below it. This continues until you are finally comparing number 9 to number 10.

This exercise can take less than 5 minutes and the results can be eye-opening. The objective is to reorder your list when you’ve done the exercise. Put the thing with the most checkmarks at the top of the list and the thing with the second most checkmarks next until all the things you listed are in a hierarchical order by checkmark. You have now arranged the items on your internal refrigerator and put them in a visible display – your prioritized list.

This is an exercise that also works with deeper issues other than picking up the dry cleaning. List the things you think you really want and then start doing the comparing exercise. You may find that something that has been occupying a lot of your thinking may be close to the bottom of your list or vice-versa.

When you take the time to discover your personal priorities, you get a clearer focus on what’s important to you and then you can direct your efforts in that direction. The result is the wheat berries will drop by your feet and the chaff will blow away.

All the best,


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February 8, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:40 am

How long does it take to become original? It depends on how tied in you are to your culture and conditioning.

Cultures have a way of molding your wants and desires and to be like the person next to you. You may have different characteristics, but by and large, anyone paying attention knows you’re cut from the same cloth.

When I shop at Whole Foods, there is a different culture there than at the larger chain supermarket. When I walk through the neighborhood where the art school is, I see all of these young people expressively the same. They consider themselves different with their mode of dress, colorful hairstyles and metal adornments, but it’s really the cultural uniform of the young artist.

There are very few originals. From the field of entertainment, I count Bob Dylan as an original, as I do Marlon Brando, Elvis, The Beatles and Madonna. I’m sure you have your example of an original in mind.

Each original had their influences but they developed their own unique branch of the tree to bring new views to witness. Reminds me of a story . . .

Many years ago I was in the radio business and interviewing for a position at a station in Hartford, Connecticut. I was required to do an audition. After the program director listened to the performance, he asked me if I was influenced by the work of another known radio personality whom he named. I responded that I was influenced by this fellow. He then said something I will never forget. He said, “If you continue to mimic him, you will always be an imitation and never be him.” Then he hit me with the knockout blow. He said, “But you know what, as hard as he may try, he could never be you.”

You are an original. You may have to shed several layers of conditioning to reveal the unique you. Your light will shine brightest when you are doing the thing that suits you best and you will be an original. No one can replicate your light. It has a luminosity all its own.

I read a quote yesterday from advice columnist, Carolyn Hax. She said,

“It doesn’t take courage to do what tempts you. It takes courage to do what scares you.”

You may be tempted to be an imitation because there is less self-inspection and less work to do, but mustering up the courage to find your original self will have an exponentially bigger payday.

There is a lot of courage necessary to throw the crutches away and trust that you can stand on your own. It’s a scary feeling at first and then the ease and comfort of who you really are surfaces and allows you to display your original self.

I sent an email to a dear friend from long ago the other day and said, “‘Know Thyself’ is unarguably the best prescription ever written.”

When you discover yourself, you become an original expression of the Divinity that is your core.

Masquerading as someone who is not you truly is an original sin.

All the best,


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February 7, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:52 am

You have heard me say many times that human beings do not have the capacity to forgive. Forgiveness is nothing that a human can conjure up, but when it shows up, there can be no mistake as to what it is.

The type of forgiveness that some people say they are capable of creating is only lip service compared to real forgiveness. Real forgiveness is not a thought. It’s a sensation – one that we label afterwards with a thought. People who are trying to forgive are stuck in their head and points further south. There is no trying necessary. Forgiveness will show up when it shows up – like the family member who’s always late.

You can open the door to forgiveness by recognizing that you are trying to do the impossible – to consciously forgive. Aside: When I think of impossible, I think of a nun I had in the 6th grade who likened spreading rumors to opening up a feather pillow in a wind storm. If the rumor you passed along was untrue, it would be impossible to recapture all the feathers and who they touched.

I think that we can create a pathway for forgiveness to walk on by being willing to recognize the humanness of those who have hurt us. This recognition may never excuse their actions or behavior yet it may clear some space for forgiveness to take a few steps in our direction.

The ego and its position of justification will keep forgiveness at a standstill, always being held at bay.

What the ego knows, but doesn’t want us to know, is that forgiveness sets aside all the rationalizations the ego feeds on to keep our bitterness in place, and fills us with a deep sense of peace and completion. Forgiveness rearranges priorities and creates compassion.

Talking about forgiveness is like talking about being in love. You can use all the flowery words you can think of to describe it, but your audience will never know what you mean until they feel it.

Feeling forgiveness is indescribably peaceful. It’s a knowing that trumps all facts and figures. When forgiveness arrives, you naturally want to bestow it upon others. That action creates a flow that keeps a constant stream of forgiveness in our hearts with plenty to go around.

Colin Tipping in his book Radical Forgiveness says that a willingness to forgive is the first step. This is not conscious forgiveness but a willingness to be open to something new instead of being closed off by something you know.

I’ll leave this topic with this thought. If you want someone to come to your party, be willing to send them an invitation.

All the best,


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February 6, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:51 am

Did you ever really wonder what programming is running behind the scenes that is running you? – programming that isn’t on your conscious radar screen. Here’s an easy test.

The next time you do something that is accidental that you didn’t consciously want to happen, notice if and how you spontaneously label yourself.

This morning while packing some trail mix in my grandson’s lunch, I knocked over the container and it spilled all over the floor. The next thing I did was spontaneously say this, “John, you are an idiot.”

I remember saying that in the past, but I didn’t realize until this morning about the automaticity of that response, and where it came from, and the image of myself I have when I accidentally do something undesirable.

Also, this morning I had occasion to observe a squirrel gather leaves and take them back to his nest. He followed the same route, branch for branch, to and fro. He had some automatic programming running as well.

Both I and the squirrel have some hard wired stuff and some conditioned stuff. His conditioned stuff seems to work for him. Mine is a bit more pervasive and limiting.

So today I discovered there is a part of me that thinks I’m an idiot. I never noticed that part of me until this morning. What a gift!

When you begin to notice patterning that you may have missed in the past, that is an opportunity to update that controlling programming. You certainly don’t counter your pronouncement with, “I’m not an idiot.” That just sets up an Arab/Israeli debate in your mind that never goes anywhere and never leads to lasting change.

Deliberate change always begins with recognition. Notice I didn’t say with judgement, but recognition. If I hold the belief that I’m an idiot, it has some limiting behavior associated with it that may be preventing me from accomplishing something that an idiot can’t do. If I repeatedly notice my judgemental behavior when it shows up, without judging it, I open the door to change and possibility.

I got a lesson in noticing this morning and my homework project has begun.

All the best,


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February 5, 2008

Knowledge & Wisdom

Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:23 am

These two concepts are associated but not interchangeable. Last June The Grasshopper shared this with me:

“Expanding your life horizontally gains you knowledge; expanding vertically gains you wisdom.”

Knowledge is a collection of facts and figures and logic is the assembling agent for them. Wisdom comes from somewhere other than reasoning and guides you as to what to do with your personal collection of data.

When you walk horizontally from birth to death, you will collect your share of information and you will become more knowledgeable. Some people wear their knowledge as a badge of honor and will regale you with their storehouse of information. I’ve heard it said that “Knowledge is power.” The evidence does not bear out that old axiom. A more accurate adage would be “Wisdom is power.”

How many people have more knowledge than you could ever hope to amass and do nothing with it? They lack wisdom. It doesn’t take education to be wise. Sometimes it takes experience to produce wisdom, and sometimes wisdom just shows up for an unannounced, inspirational visit.

I have no quarrel with education. I think life should be a constant class of continuing education. Just recognize that knowledge alone is like one hand clapping or one Smothers Brother.

The well of wisdom sits in everyone’s back yard. You just have to drink from it from time to time gain the heights and depths this deep knowing can deliver.

A day without quiet contemplation is a day without wisdom. Make the time for yourself everyday and take a mini vacation from the world of facts and figures and notice how your moments become infused with wisdom. Find a spiritual practice that works for you. There are so many that take you to the same place – peacefulness, solitude, oneness. Make today the starting point for a daily dip into the depths of discovery and start drinking from your well of wisdom.

All the best,


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February 4, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 8:33 am

You’re never too old to be disappointed, or too young. In fact, if you are human, plan for it. Reminds me of a story . . .

Many years ago when I was doing a talk show I had the opportunity to speak with a bridge builder. There was a major bridge construction being planned for the state and this gentleman was in charge. I learned more than I can remember about building bridges but one thing came up that I wasn’t expecting. When estimating the costs associated with the project, they factor in something that would have never crossed my mind – death to a certain number of workers. They buy insurance policies for “X” number of workers depending on the size of the bridge.

There was a lot of disappointment at our home last night. The New England Patriots lost in Super Bowl XLII. We weren’t supposed to lose. The experts couldn’t even imagine it. Reality and the New York Giants won. Congratulations!

I got to wondering about the word “disappoint.” The dictionary defines it this way:

Disappoint: “To fail to satisfy the hope, desire or expectation of.”

If words could ever explain feelings, these came close.

We even bypassed hope and desire at our house last night and went right to expectation. We didn’t buy the insurance policy. It wasn’t needed. I’m not sure if it was a real or a Hollywood quote about the Titanic that went something like this:

“Neither man nor God can sink this ship.”

Our ship was torpedoed last night and we sank.

So, how do you minimize feeling disappointed? “We’ll get em’ next year” doesn’t seem to work. In fact, no words work.

I don’t remember where I first heard this quote or who it came from but it seems to fit here.

“If you never lean on anyone, you’ll never be let down.”

This is not to say that we shouldn’t look for support in our time of need. That’s why Mother Nature created the milk of human kindness.

I always look for a lesson from life’s offerings. It keeps my trips to “what if land” to a minimum. The lesson seems to be this:

When we project our preconceived expectations onto others, we deny them their right to be human.

If you don’t allow for humanness, you will be disappointed.

The only thing that let me down last night was my expectations. My team played their hearts out as did their opponents.

All the best,


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